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Flu deaths rise to 173 across Oklahoma

OKLAHOMA CITY – The flu continues to take its toll on Oklahomans, claiming 173 lives so far this season.

So far this year, officials with the Oklahoma State Department of Health say that 173 people have died from the flu since September. Five of those deaths occurred within the last week.

In all, 300  people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the flu virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 3,560.

Although the numbers are high, data provided by the health department appears to indicate that we have hit the peak of flu season.

Credit: Oklahoma State Department of Health

Officials say 32 of the deaths occurred in Tulsa County, while 26 occurred in Oklahoma County. According to hospitalization numbers from the Oklahoma State Department of Health, residents in Oklahoma and Tulsa counties accounted for the most flu hospitalizations in the state.

Health reports state that almost all of the patients who died from the virus were over the age of 50.

New data shows that 17 of those who died from the flu were between the ages of 18-years-old and 49-years-old. Health officials say a child between the ages of 5-years-old and 17-years-old also died from the flu in Oklahoma County.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say you should be vigilant with washing your hands, avoid touching your eyes and mouth, get plenty of sleep and eat healthy to help give your immune system a boost.

If you get sick, look out for severe aches and pains in your muscles and joints, notable fatigue and weakness, headaches and a high fever.

If you are experiencing those symptoms, call a doctor as soon as possible. Experts also say you should not go to work or school if you have a fever.